Recap: ‘Survivor: Samoa’ – ‘Off with Their Heads’

12.03.09 8 years ago 2 Comments


Pre-credit sequence. There’s a crab slinking across the camp. It seems to be threatening the Aiga chicken. Oh no! Oh wait. That’s just editing. So maybe it’s just symbolic. Huh? Explain yourself, nature-obsessed “Survivor” editor! “Medusa has been dethroned,” gloats Shambo, returning to camp after the elimination of Laura. Shambo’s grasp on Greek mythology has been suspect from Day One. John is still explaining why he decided to abandon his Galu alliance at the last tribal council, depriving viewers of the chance to watch both teams draw stones for elimination. He feels like he has Russell’s assurance that a Foa Foa will go home next. And he trusts Russell, which seems bizarre. Monica, still smarting from John’s betrayal, calls him a Judas and announces that he’s next to go. And your power comes from where, Monica?
[Recap of Thursday (Dec. 3) night’s “Survivor: Samoa,” with spoilers, after the break…]
For biddin’. Oooh. Nebula. And now stars. Another pointless piece of editing! Yes. We get it. A night passed. We’re at Day 28 and Tree-Mail provides each of them with “Survivor” bucks. It’s “Survivor” Auction Day. Shambo says she’s literally starving and she’s ready to stop eating the muscle off her body. Will she get the food she craves?
In which both peanut butter *and* getting naked cost money. “I love seeing so many smiles,” Jeff Probst says, introducing the auction. Each player has $500. Up for bid first is a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Natalie starts with bidding with $200. Nobody else has any desire to compete. She’s pleased she got PB&J without having to strip naked for it. Now she’s wishing for a glass of milk, I suspect, just like in that classic Michael Bay-directed Aaron Burr commercial. Shambo bids $240 for a covered tray. Her money bought her… Sea noodles and slug guts, with a little parmesan. Shambo digs right in and devours whatever the heck she was given. Another covered tray gets high bids, with Monica bidding $340 on the assumption that the show wouldn’t do two dummy prizes in a row. It’s a good call. She gets a whole roasted chicken. She’s pleased. Up next is a “significant advantage in the next Immunity challenge.” Jaison commits to taking one for the team and bids $500 for a sealed tube. Gutsy, Jaison. Up next is a beer and a cheeseburger and MickDreamy instantly bids $500. It’s a big hamburger. Next up is a clue to the location of the Hidden Immunity Idol. The one that Russell already found? Excellent. John pays $200 for a worthless clue. Next up is a shower and clean underwear. Natalie bids $120, which is exactly what the “Survivor” producers wanted. So Natalie got her PB&J and then paid money for the privilege of getting naked. John, with $300, buys himself a piece of apple pie. Jeff makes John a choice: Keep the pie for himself, or give up his own pie to give pieces to four other people. John keeps his darned pie. “He just showed how stingy he was. You playin’ a game, you in the game,” says Russell, calling it “a terrible move.”
The silence of the chickens. The crab is back. And this time, he’s watching the sun. Back at camp, John is unrolling his clue for the Idol. It leads him to the rock wall. In fact, it basically tells him exactly where the Idol is. Or where the Idol would be if Russell didn’t already have it. John finds the place where it should have been, but nothing is there. We’re all shocked. But anyway… The chicken is making a ruckus back at camp. Shambo warns the chickens that they’re about to become lunch, which makes her sad, since they’ve been her single source of happiness and friendship for the past four weeks. She’s been having deep conversations with her chickens in a clucking language in which she’s fluent. She’s certain that she brought them as much peace as they brought her. Now, though, there will be real peace, after Russell beheads them. “Tell me when the chickens stop screaming,” Shambo says. Oh, Shambo… The chickens never stop screaming, at least not until you stop a serial killer’s reign of terror. Shambo’s misery is short-lived. Minutes later, she’s recovered enough to take control over cooking her best friends. She appears to be making a stew, claiming “a bad case of PMS” whenever anybody questions her culinary skill. Things grow especially heated with Dave, who protests that boiling a chicken for two hours might be a bad way to cook a chicken.
I dreamed a dream. After a clever eclipse-like editing trick, we get jittery night-vision of Shambo’s nightmares, which involve crabs and chickens. Shambo says she’s been known to have clairvoyant dreams, which she calls God’s intervention. In her dream: They vote Dave off. The next morning, she confirms her dream with Russell, who cackles encouragingly. Wait. Did anybody eat the over-stewed chicken? Was it tasty? How could we have had five minutes of chicken-eating tease without a payoff?
Don knots. Darnit. Nobody told us how the chicken tasted and suddenly it’s time for Immunity. For the challenge, each player gets a rope and a heavy log. The leverage changes at regular intervals, making the task harder and harder. What did Jaison get for his $500? He gets to move his hand up by two knots at any point, improving his leverage. Jaison uses his advantage very early, before anybody has been eliminated. That doesn’t seem like a good call to me, but what do I know? I just want to talk about chicken. Out first is Shambo, who also goes toppling back onto her butt. Out next is Russell, whose departure is surprising, Jeff notes. The other players get to the end of their ropes without a knot to support his hand. Only Jaison has a knot, a massive advantage. Soon, it’s down to Jaison, Dave and Natalie. Then Jaison and Dave. If Dave wins, does that mean that Shambo isn’t clairvoyant? Drat. Jaison holds on and Dave’s hand slips. That was $500 well-spent for Jaison, who nows has Immunity. Shambo announces she’s in a position of power and that Foa Foa is voting however she wants them to. I know lots of fans love their “crazy” on “Survivor,” but Shambo is the sort of crazy I’d love to see jettisoned. 
Nobody has heard Russell tell the truth and survived to tell the tale. Jaison respects Dave for his valiant attempt. Dave respects Jaison for vanquishing him. And I respect Dave for bringing back the Jungle Charlie Manson look! Shambo respects nobody, but she’s really got the power, as even MickDreamy admits. Russell goes to John and tells him that if a Foa Foa has to go out, it should be MickDreamy. Then John brings up the Immunity idol with Russell and Russell, after some prodding, admits to having it. In the Russell-verse, this means John has to go out. “When I tell you something and I made a mistake, I have to get rid of you,” Russell cackles to the camera, even as he tells John that he won’t vote him out. Tricky Russell approaches Dave and tells him that he can save him. He warns Dave that it’ll be him if it isn’t John, so Dave has to sway Monica. Next step, Russell goes to MickDreamy and asks who he’d vote out if he could vote anybody out. MickDreamy instantly says, “John.” Does anybody know Brett is still in this game? MickDreamy takes Jaison aside and proposes getting rid of John. But Jaison is clever and knows that getting rid of John will piss Shambo off and that she’ll flip on them in a second. Hmmm… 
Tribal Council. Jaison isn’t worried if people think he won Immunity because of his advantage. Dave says he isn’t worried if he put a target on his back by going as far as he did. Shambo’s confused by strategy and the notion that people are playing a game. On the jury, Kelly’s looking hot. I somehow wish she’d said a single word all season long. She’s the female Brett. Russell tells us that the person going home will be surprised. Shambo disagrees. Dave declares that if the vote goes the way he expects it to, *he’ll* be shocked. Which is confusing.
The vote. Shambo writes down Dave’s name and says “Dave, thanks for the chickens. They were great friends.” That is my new favorite “Survivor” quote of the season. Dave writes John’s name. Nobody plays an Idol. First vote? Mick. Second vote? Dave. Third vote? John. Fourth and fifth votes go against John, who furrows his brow. “He’s so screwed,” Laura says from the jury. As the last vote is read, eliminating John, Shambo looks beyond flummoxed. On the jury, Erik continues to be wildly amused.
Bottom line. Rocket Scientist John was just the latest in a long line of “Survivor” contestants who talked a smarter game than they played. The idea that he could have alienated his whole tribe in the last vote and then not foreseen any potential for blowback is mind-boggling. Meanwhile, will somebody *please* notice Brett and vote him out of the game. I’d need somebody with a more encyclopedic knowledge of the game to tell me if there’s ever been a contestant to make it this far with *this* little screentime.
So was this a bad move for Galu? A bad move for Foa Foa? Or have the tribal lines become meaningless? And do you expect the chickens and crabs to haunt Shambo forever?

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